Friday, October 5, 2012

Double Shadow Pre Production

Planing a film is a very rewarding experience, from the instant you sketch your first rough storyboard, to the script breakdown, it is a very creative experience. Of course the Pre Production for an independent short film is very different from the way Hollywood do things. We probably will choose to skip the permits you need, insurance, and basically rely on favours. So this is my Pre Production list for my first short film, Double Shadow:

Script- Done! I'm always adjusting or tweaking things, but at some point you have to stop and go for it.

Budget - Most of it will go to the actors, stylist / make up artist, wardrobe and food . For crew duties, I'm relying on friends and family.

Location - My intention was to write according to a location I know I can use anytime. But it didn't happen that way for different reasons.., so now I have to adapt the script to the new location.

Casting - I put a couple of ads on different sites for this. I knew that I needed a nice place to do it (use my living room could be a little weird) so I used the gallery for that. I taped the actors reading parts of the script so I could watch later. Next time I will probably leave the casting till the end, once I sort out everything else and I'm basically ready to shoot.

Shot List - To maximise time and resources I first organised the shooting list according to how many actors I have in each scene. For example, Double Shadow has 12 scenes. The male actor is in all of them, the female actress is only in 6. So I'll start with the scenes that involve him, so she can rock up a bit later for hers. The second criteria would be location. For this one I will start with all the outdoors scenes, and then move indoors. Once on location I just keep working under the same concept. If I am shooting in the kitchen, I'll shoot all the scenes happening in the kitchen. That way you reduce the set up time by a lot and you don't have to move lights back and forth.

Storyboard - I'm terrible at drawing but this for me is the most important part. Here you decide how you're gonna tell the story and which tools you're gonna use to accomplish that. In my case I just take a few iPhone photos and use them for my storyboard. I write tons of notes for myself too.  Nobody knows better than me the vision I want and the way I want to tell this story, so the storyboard is extremely important to communicate that to the rest of the crew.  

Time the script - I'm doing this right after I finish this post. Here I'll read the script with the same pace I will shoot it. Once I have roughly the times, I'm gonna multiply them by 3 (in case we need 3 takes), add 10 minutes for the time you need between the takes and finally add 20 minutes for the scene set up. Once I have the final overall time I can go straight to the next step which is...

Shooting Schedule - well, this is exactly what it sounds like... a schedule for the whole day. 

And that's it for my PP list. Now, permits and insurance do not have a space in the independent low budget filmmaking world. So basically I'm following the law of shoot first and ask questions after. I'm using my own gear so that's why I haven't mentioned anything about rentals in this list. 

If I've done my homework properly, Saturday 13th would be an nice day for me. However, from my photography experience I know unexpected things can happen but that's ok, I'm actually keen to embrace any potential hurdles and see if I can work around them, and learn from them. I'm friggin' exited!


- October 12th Update - We had to reschedule the shooting due a family emergency of one member of the crew. Good news is everybody is ok, so the shooting day now is probably early November :)

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